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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.

VIII. Johnson and Boswell

§ 5. His school at Edial and migration to London

His experience of letters at Birmingham had not promised success, and, on his marriage in July, 1735, with Mrs. Elizabeth Porter, the widow of one of his Birmingham friends, he set up a school at Edial, near Lichfield. His first reference to the new enterprise is found in a letter of 25 June, 1735, recently published for the first time.

  • “I am going,” he writes, “to furnish a House in the Country and keep a private Boarding-house for Young Gentlemen whom I shall endeavour to instruct in a method somewhat more rational than those commonly practised.”
  • His “scheme for the classes of a grammar school,” as given by Hawkins and Boswell, illustrates what he was to say about teaching in his Life of Milton. The school failed, and, on 2 March, 1737, he set out for London with one of his pupils, David Garrick. Henceforward, London was to be his home. Having no profession, he became by necessity an author.